# Does Uranium ore count as a mixture?

I'm doing an assignment where we must research the separation of a mixture to obtain a useful final product. I thought about the separation of uranium from its ore after it has been mined, but I did not know if the ore counted as a mixture, or a compound.

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Yes, uranium ore is a mixture.

Uranium compounds such as pitchblende (uraninite) are only present as a small part (usually $<1$%) of the ore.

Extensive purification is needed. Uranium ore purification would be a good choice for your project.

See for example:

http://www.areva.com/EN/operations-677/uranium-processing-from-ore-to-yellow-cake.html

http://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/magazines/bulletin/bull23-2/23204882428.pdf

The main uranium ore is pitchblende, or uraninite, which is primarily composed of $$\ce{UO2}$$. $$\ce{UO2}$$ is ionically bonded together in a crystal structure and so it is definitely a compound and not a mixture. However, uraninite does contain small amounts of other compounds, such as $$\ce{U3O8}$$ and trace amounts of lead oxides and so the mineral as a whole is a mixture of compounds.